Museum Society

The Terrace and District Museum Society is an incorporated nonprofit organization that oversees the operations of Heritage Park. The society is managed by a seven-member volunteer Board of Directors, whose biographies are included below.

The Mandate of the Society is: 

  1. to maintain, preserve, operate, and promote the premises, facilities, and archives of Heritage Park as an interpretive site representing the settlement era in the region from 1890 to 1930; and
  2. to establish a dedicated museum and archives and, in so doing, identify, collect, preserve, and display artifacts and documents from time immemorial to the present for Terrace and the surrounding area.

Grant D. Piffer, President

Grant has served as a City of Terrace appointee for the last few terms, after having been initially elected by the museum’s membership. For the past eight years, Grant Piffer has steered the museum through several major capital projects, ensuring the long-term preservation of the buildings, which are the museum’s largest artifacts.

Grant was born and raised in Terrace. He studied history (with a biology minor) at Simon Fraser University from 1967 until 1972. Subsequent to that, he worked in broadcast television as a writer-director. Later, and for many years, Grant consulted–through his own company–on advertising, marketing, electioneering and design projects. He was a founding partner of Shames Mountain Ski Corporation and sat on its governing board for twenty-two years. Grant continues on today as a cartoonist and writer. He is a keen world sightseer, having travelled to London, Singapore, Seychelles, Fukuoka (Japan), Bombay, Maumere (Indonesia), Las Vegas, Cairo, Macau, Poona (India), Hong Kong, north England, south Vietnam, East Timor and West Malaysia. Grant is currently involved in the ownership and direction of three privately held companies.

Goals for the Society: Grant Piffer wants to implement policies that will ensure the continued relevance of Heritage Park and its associated photo and document archive.

 Margaret-Anne (Maggie) Baxter, Vice President

Maggie Baxter has served as the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine’s representative for several consecutive terms. Maggie believes her greatest task on the board is ensuring sufficient priority be given, on an ongoing basis, to the museum’s community archives. This important “visual” resource, a collection of historic photographs and documents, is a record of the cultural and commercial history of Terrace. As such, it is imperative these materials be collected and preserved now for others to discover and enjoy.

Maggie was born and raised in Terrace and, except for time spent at university, has always made the city her home. Maggie’s grandfather, E.T. Kenney, arrived in the Skeena Valley from Nova Scotia, via Saskatchewan, circa 1910. He was later to become a well-known Terrace businessman, school board member, and prominent provincial politician. Maggie worked for many years at the board office of the Coast Mountains School District.

She has always been interested in the history of the area–and in the stories of its families. She can often be found surrounded by faded newspapers, vintage photographs, and other important old treasures. And, as Maggie has said more than once, “local historical mysteries intrigue me.” Her travels along “historical trails” have taken her to France, the Netherlands, England, Germany, Belgium, and Scotland (including the Hebrides).

Goals for the Society: Margaret-Anne Baxter wants, in the short term, to secure a location for an archives. In the long term, she wants to secure a downtown museum and to continue the successful operation of Heritage Park. She wants to work with a strong board and to see the museum produce more publications.

Heimke Haldane, Treasurer

Heimke Haldane was elected to the board of Heritage Park by the voting members of the Terrace & District Museum Society. She has served several consecutive terms. For Heimke, her time on the board has seen Heritage Park through the early phases of establishing a downtown museum.

Heimke was born near Hannover, Germany and emigrated to Canada in the 1950s. She undertook most other public schooling in Terrace. Later, she studied at the University of British Columbia. Heimke offers significant experience in non-profit governance: she has served on the board of Pacific Northwest Music Festival, Terrace & District Arts Council, and the Riverboat Days Society. In addition, she completed a four-year term on the board of the provincial British Columbia Arts Council. Over the years, her commitment to the arts has helped to ensure a vibrant cultural profile for the Skeena region. Heimke is an enthusiastic traveller. Her journeys aboard have included trips to England, Turkey, France, Italy, and Germany.

Goals for the Society: Heimke Haldane wants to see a downtown museum built before she dies.

Ruth K.E. Wright, Secretary

Ruth Wright has recently been elected to her first term on the board by the voting membership of Terrace & District Museum Society.

Ruth Wright and her husband were both born and raised in Terrace and were married in and raised their family in this community. Ruth’s father immigrated from England when he was 21 and her mother’s family immigrated from Germany when she was 18. Ruth’s father worked in the logging industry while her mother worked from home. While Ruth’s family lived in Terrace, her extended family, on her mother’s side, lived in Old Remo, whose many residents were sponsored in coming to Canada from Germany after the war through the Baptist Church. Ruth’s father-in-law, John Wright, was also involved in the lumber industry and built many of the logging roads in our area while her mother-in-law, Joan, raised the family and worked at Caledonia School for many years.

Ruth has worked in the secretarial field initially as a solicitor’s secretary, then Court Clerk, Crown Counsel office, then for the City of Terrace as Confidential Secretary, Planning Secretary and Clerk-Dispatcher at the Terrace fire hall. She has recently retired and because of her deep appreciation and love for our community and its history, decided joining the Museum Society board would be a great “fit.”

Goals for the Society: Ruth’s focus for her time as a director is to implement policies and procedures in line with our constitution. She also wants to implement Google Documents for board documents (i.e. minutes, agendas, curator’s reports, financial statements, etc).

Linda J. Lee, Director

Linda Lee was first elected to the board of Heritage Park by the voting members of the museum society. She was later appointed to the board by the City of Terrace. Her priority on the board is to see more connections with Kitsumkalum and Kitselas in terms of projects and partnerships, and to incorporate more Sm’algyax and Tsimshian perspectives in the museum’s programming and collections. She wants to work on promoting education, through partnerships with schools and educational institutions, and through the Terrace mutiny website.

Linda was born in Fort William, Ontario–now Thunder Bay–and is a graduate of Carleton University (Bachelor of Arts) and Queen’s University (Bachelor of Education). Linda is passionate about learning: her favorite question is, “why?” She was trained as a physical education/social studies teacher and taught at Thornhill Junior Secondary School in Thornhill for thirty years. She is currently a sessional instructor at the University of Northern British Columbia. As well, Linda facilitates workshops in a variety of areas, including health, physical education, social studies, and social justice. Linda is an experienced traveller: she has journeyed to Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Nigeria and Australia, as well as completing a circle tour of China. Her favorite quote is, “Grand adventures await those willing to turn the corner.”

Goals for the Society: Linda Lee wants to see more connections with Kitsumkalum and Kitselas in terms of projects and partnerships, and to incorporate more Sm’algyax and Tsimshian perspectives in the museum’s programming and collections. She wants to work on promoting education, through partnerships with schools and educational institutions, and through the Terrace mutiny website.

 David H. Newman, Director

David H. (Zoomin’) Newman was elected to the board by the voting members of the Terrace & district Museums Society. He has served continuously for the past eight years. During that time, Dave has brought in many artifacts and visitors, and has helped with operational needs and repairs.

Dave was born in Windsor, Ontario and grew up in various western Canadian cities. After completing school, he undertook specialized training in Winnipeg and Penticton to begin a decades-long career in aviation—initially as a fixed-wing pilot and flight instructor and then as a helicopter pilot and base manager. His entire flying career was spent with Okanagan Helicopters (known as Canadian Helicopters after 1988).

Dave has a strong sense of the history of the region. An interesting aside: through his work as a helicopter pilot in northwest British Columbia, Dave discovered a number of remote, long-abandoned mines. And, as it was common for early mining companies to simply “walk away” from their operations once they have become unprofitable, much vintage mining equipment was left behind. Through Dave’s efforts, several different artifacts were identified and airlifted out to be placed in Heritage Park’s mining equipment collection. A horse-powered winching machine recovered from the Singlehurst Mine near Terrace is probably the most intriguing of these pieces. The device, known as a “whim,” is over one hundred years old.

Dave has always been an interested traveler and has undertaken various trips to Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Italy, Austria, England, France, Germany, Turkey, Jamaica, Hawaii, and Mexico.

Goals for the Society: Dave Newman wants to see a downtown museum before he dies.